In February 2011, David Cameron proclaimed, “state multiculturalism had failed”. This followed on from Angela Merkel who, in late 2010, suggested that attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany had “utterly failed”.
Something Trevor Philips, head of the Commission for Racial Equality, echoed, in 2012, when he called for an official end to multicultural policy, and criticised “politically-correct liberals for their “misguided” pandering to the ethnic lobby”.
But what do we understand the term multiculturalism to mean?
In order to understand its failings, surely we need to know precisely what it is that has failed? We can then address the questions; what do we do—what are we prepared to do—in order to ensure, that whatever replaces “multiculturalism”, does so without leading to the civil unrest that many on the outskirts of the debate are desperate to bring about?
Multiculturalism is, at its simplest, another term for cultural diversity; a society containing different or diverse cultures. People talk of “salad bowls” or conversely “melting pots”. The salad bowl is where each individual part makes up the whole but retains its distinctiveness, while the melting pot ideal has a myriad of diverse cultures all melting into each other diluting and augmenting over time, before blending into one assimilated whole with a common culture.
What has failed then, according to Philips, Merkel, Cameron and many others, is the ability of Government to create the conditions where a society—comprising many diverse cultures—can successfully and peacefully bring those cultures to coexist alongside each other, and it is good of them to admit it. It is the salad bowl model, the leftist Utopian vision of myriad rainbow-coloured people sitting around a camp fire all singing kum-by-yah, each voice adding to a the glorious cacophony that has failed. This is what they are saying.
The history of multiculturalism in the UK is far too large a topic for this piece but it is true to say that the United Kingdom has always been a destination for immigrants, some have even historically stayed and contributed to our culture and our society whether we wished it or not; the Vikings, the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, the Normans.
Jews first came to England in 1040 and although they may not have been treated as kindly as we, at times, may like, the Jewish community, in 2006, celebrated the 350th anniversary of their resettlement in England.
Before the Second World War many immigrants came to the UK from Germany, mainly those who faced persecution at the hands of the Nazis. After the Second World War, Indians, Ugandan Asians and a wide variety of Commonwealth citizens all came to the UK. More recently we have opened our doors to EU citizens under the right to the free movement of people directive and on top of which we have a constant stream of asylum seekers, economic migrants and, of course, illegal immigrants. All of which would have been hard enough for the British people, services and economy to cope with, without also having to cope with the utterly shameful and deeply dishonest open doors immigration policy of the Labour Government under Blair and Brown.
In May 2013, Peter Mandelson confirmed what many critics of the Labour Party’s immigration policies had long suspected, that open doors immigration was a deliberate, cynical, ideologically-based programme of social engineering. “Search parties” were sent out he said, in an attempt to make the UK truly multicultural or, as Andrew Neather stated, “to change the face of Britain forever” and “the policy was intended — even if this wasn’t its main purpose — to rub the right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date”.
Under the Labour government, 5.2 million foreign immigrants arrived in the UK officially with at least another 1 million arriving here illegally. When Labour took over in 1997 there were 58 million people living in the UK; they were, therefore, responsible for the single largest expansion in population this country has ever known. Much of this took place just before the biggest financial crash and deepest, longest recession in British history.
In the past, when large numbers of immigrants have come to this country, whether it was from Ireland, the Caribbean or elsewhere, there has been a certain amount of accompanying social disquiet. Usually these instances have been localised and serious social disturbance avoided. Indeed there have only been 31 so-called “race riots” in the UK since 1919, roughly one every three years. Many of the worst race riots have been due to tensions between White and Asian groups (Bradford, Burnley, Oldham) or British Caribbean and Asian groups (Birmingham, 2005).
June Bam-Hutchison in “Race, Faith, and UK Policy: a brief history” suggests that;
By 2001 New Labour had moved from multiculturalism to a policy of assimilation of BAME communities into white British mainstream culture. In the aftermath of 9/11 there was widespread media outcry that Britain was being ‘flooded’, such as the heyday of Enoch Powell’s 1968 speech. This new sense of ‘community cohesion’, foregrounded British mainstream culture. David Cameron’s Tory Party supported ‘community cohesion’ as opposed to the threat of ‘flooding’ that comes with multiculturalism.
And yet in 2004, Trevor Philips was calling for the Labour Government to move away from “multiculturalism”. By the time of the 2005 London bombings by Islamist murderers, David Davis was again calling for the Labour Government to move away from multiculturalism. Trevor Philips again in 2005, as was John Sentamu and Michael Nazir-Ali. By 2006, Ruth Kelly, Communities and Local Government Secretary in the Blair Government, had signalled an end to multiculturalism as official Government policy. Yet in 2011, an entire decade after June Bam-Hutchinson and others suggest that the Labour Party had already moved away from “multiculturalism”, we have David Cameron saying it has failed and will no longer be Government policy.
When in 2011, Cameron said;
“Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream.
“We’ve failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.
“We’ve even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values.”
What was the alternative policy he was advocating? What grand plan did the Government have which would create the conditions through which we would all break into a collective rendition of kum-by-yah? Well, that would be to adopt the failed Labour administration’s highly dubious PREVENT strategy. A strategy which essentially consisted of pouring millions every year into “muslim areas” in order to try and buy off aggression and unrest; a strategy which Douglas Murray suggested was so counter productive that it seemed designed to alienate everyone and unite no-one. Only Labour could be so stupid as to think this was a good idea, only this useless coalition could be so bereft of ideas of their own that they would seek to adopt it.
Following the appalling murder of Drummer Rigby by Islamic fanatics, in broad daylight on the streets of London, Cameron’s Coalition will launch a taskforce; its prime goals will be to produce initiatives on:
Which sounds very much like what was said of the shelved review of the PREVENT strategy back in 2011, which said,
Actions due to be completed in January 2011:
“Develop and publish a revised ‘Prevent’ strategy aimed at stopping people from becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremism. (Not complete).”
This week Theresa May said, amongst other things, that ministers are considering:
Considering. Considering? All of the above is supposed to already be part of the PREVENT package and, in any case, there is nothing in any of this that seeks to bring people together; all of the talk is about communities, the Nigerian Community, the Muslim Community etc. instead of community, “our” community, single and assimilated, and that sounds an awful lot like multiculturalism to me.
If multiculturalism has failed in Sweden, where billions have been spent on their immigrant communities over the years, where politicians have bent over backwards, pandering to an increasingly aggressive and ungrateful minority in their midst, then it cannot succeed anywhere and the Swedish multiculti dream now looks more like a Balkanised nightmare.
We have serious problems, in this country, with violent extremism and radicalisation. These problems have been, in part, caused and, in part, exacerbated by successive Government’s policies in areas such as immigration, education and community etc. We need serious politicians with serious minds capable of tackling these problems with serious solutions.
That the current crop of Westminster seat polishers and trough gobblers think rehashing a dubious and widely criticised Labour policy and repeating the empty platitudes of the past is in any way the same as providing a serious solution, leaves me very worried indeed.
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You’re not that only one who has had enough.
Russell Taylor – In praise of a country worth fighting for
It’s a very good piece.
Thank you Russell, you’re very kind.